Rugby journalist Gerry Thornley and former Munster and Leinster player joined Joe Molloy on Monday Night Rugby, discussing the latest fixtures as well as some a trial of potential rule changes to the game.
With World Rugby set to observe potential new rules in the game during trials at two Queensland Reds matches over the coming weeks, the Monday Night Rugby Panel gave their take as to which alterations would get “the thumbs up” and which ones would need further work on tonight’s show.
Aimed at increasing the ball in play time during a fixture, the panel were hopeful that such changes would result in a more entertaining watch for viewers.
“Whether these work or not I’m glad they are acknowledging this. I mean the 55 minutes for 40 minutes and the lack of ball play, it’s a snooze-fest, especially for younger people and those you are trying to attract to the game” said Molloy.
“Increasingly I’m just watching rugby on delay and forwarding through all of this stuff because it’s just the only way to do it.
“Watching scrum sets in the URC, life is too short!” he added.
While regulations such as “a player will have 5 seconds to play the ball at a ruck once the referee says use it”, “there are 30 seconds to pack down at the scrum when the mark is set” and “60 seconds for penalty kicks, 90 seconds for conversions, 30 seconds to restart for a conversion” all got the green light with the panel, what wasn’t touched on was that of the time it takes for the referees to make certain on field decisions.
“The one they haven’t addressed in all of those experimental law changes is the time it takes for a TMO and a referee to agree upon something” explained Thornley.
Toland echoed these thoughts, pointing out that “you get sense that the referees are so afraid to make a decision that may come back to haunt them.”
“We need to recreate this” he said.
“Mistakes happen. They shouldn’t be allowed to happen but if we’re prepared to have a 60 minute half made 40 minutes just because the referee is so pressurised into making the correct decision we’ve lost it.
We should accept mistakes should be made and over the course of the season they will iron themselves out to some point.
Fundamentally the governing body are probably expecting perfection from the referees, whereas I think we should lower that bar down a little and let the game flow a bit.”
“It’s not just the governing body as well, it’s us as well as media and pundits and fans…” supplemented Thornley, “we have to remember they’re human beings as well being putting under intense scrutiny.”
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